Banyan Global operates seamlessly within four practice areas:
Zambia is challenged by both communicable and non-communicable diseases; its health indicators are some of the lowest in the region. Women and children face high levels of infant, child, and maternal mortality. Zambia has one of the highest maternal mortality rates in the world729 maternal deaths per 100,000 live births. It is estimated that 4,000 women and girls in Zambia die each year due to pregnancy- and delivery-related complications. An additional 80,000 to 120,000 Zambian women and girls will suffer from pregnancy- and delivery-related complications each year. The national HIV/AIDS prevalence rate is also high at 15.6 percent among Zambians aged 15 to 49 (18 percent for women, 13 percent for men).
To address these challenges, Zambia must strengthen its health system. In the past, the public sector played the dominant role in providing health care. In fact private practices in Zambia only became legal in the 1990s. Since that time, however, the private health sector has grown, and it has the potential to be an important partner with the government in addressing health challenges.
A number of constraints, however, hamper the private health sector in Zambia. Research indicates there is a low level of financial- and business-management capacity in this sector. Clinicians that have gone into private practice as a second career own many of the private health facilities in Zambia. Without adequate business- and financial-management skills, private health providers often struggle to make their businesses viable and are unable to expand and add new services. Lack of business- and financial-management skills can directly impact the quality of care provided in the private sector. Poor cash-flow management can lead to stockouts of essential drugs and supplies. Unrealistic business plans can lead financial institutions to reject loan applications, denying private providers the funds they need to invest in equipment and renovations.
Recognizing these challenges, Banyan Global has been working in Zambia since 2007 to strengthen private health care businesses with a focus on those offering maternal and child health services. Banyan Global is implementing a program that expands access to finance and strengthens business-development services for the private health sector. Banyan Global developed training courses in basic business and financial management and business planning. Banyan Global is working with health associations to roll out these trainings. Participating associations include the Zambia Medical Association, the Pharmaceutical Society of Zambia, the Zambia Union of Nurses Organization, and the Association of Private Health Providers. To date 589 private doctors, nurses, clinical officers, and pharmacists have been trained.
To strengthen local ownership, Banyan Global has been building the capacity of the provider associations to offer this training. For the past three years, Banyan Global has been training six trainers, representing each of the associations, to offer the business training. This training-the-trainers program has focused not just on content but also on improving training skills through the application of adult learning methodologies. In 2011 the six trainers completed the training-the-trainers program and are certified to offer the business training through their associations. Now provider associations can continue to offer business training to help their members grow and improve their private practices.
Banyan Global's work in Zambia is part of the United States Agency for International Development-funded Strengthening Health Outcomes through the Private Sector Project managed by Abt Associates.